Our global food system has serious inherent problems. Our production, distribution and consumption patterns are responsible for a third of global greenhouse gas emissions, and are the main cause of deforestation, and of unsustainable use of irrigation systems. They cause soil and water pollution, and bio-diversity loss. Nor are they efficient: in a world where there are enough resources to feed the population, and 641 million adults are obese, hunger is on the rise again. Over 800 million people do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life, and suffer from multiple forms of malnutrition. Around 9 million actually die of hunger and hunger-related diseases every year. All these issues most urgently need to be addressed.
Tara Garnett initiated and runs the Food Climate Research Network (FCRN), based at the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, and is the principal investigator at the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food. Her work focuses on the contribution that the food system makes to greenhouse gas emissions and the scope for emissions reduction, looking at the technological options, at what could be achieved by changes in behaviour and how policies could help promote both these approaches. She is particularly interested in the relationship between emissions reduction objectives and other social and ethical concerns, particularly human health, livelihoods, and animal welfare.